Paintings And Poetry

VISUAL ARTS EXHIBITIONS AND CLASSES

Artist ESTHER FELIU TORRES told the owners, management and staff at The Adsubiuna Art Gallery in Spain on August 4, 2023 that: The attraction of a blank sheet, that empty space to fill, attracted me from a young age. Dump the inexplicable, even transfer the experience of another person, through me. As something metaphysical. Make use of line, volume, light, color and assemble all this with the silent word. The soul. Sometimes wounded, sometimes exultant. Already graduated in Fine Arts, I wanted more objectivity, more rigor and I studied a master of scenography. Profession to which I have been dedicated for 27 years. I parked painting in large format, writing as a balm and I dedicated myself to raising my great work, my children Jaime and Jimena. To whom I dedicate this return to me and behave with you with the humility that he returns from a long journey.

At around the same time another atist well known to the The Adsubian, REBECKA JARVENKLINT told them that
I found my passion for painting during confinement in Madrid. I found that it has a very calming and therapeutic effect, plus a great joy that it is! I started with graphite pencil and charcoal and continued with watercolors and then acrylics. I moved from Sweden to Jávea in 2010 and now live in Madrid. I find inspiration when I travel to all the beautiful corners of Spain. I love painting animals, but also nature scenes, seascapes and abstract art. But what has haunted me from the beginning is capturing moods and feelings in my figurative portraits.

POETRY PARADE

It may be that the idea for a major Poetry Reading, to be held in Peurto Del Carmen in Lanzarote on Friday 1st September was born in last November’s hugely successful, and enjoyable first Lanzarote Poetry Festival, 2022. That was an event that both my weekly column at Lanzarote Information and my own daily blog at Sidetracks And Detours previewed in the weeks preceding the event. The event’s success was also very brought about by the hard-working artist and writer Mercedes Minguela.

She must have worked countless hours over the past months, in contact with poets she knows from all across The Canary Islands, offering them the chance to come over to Lanzarote and give their own time to a three day event that she must have promised them would be worthwhile.

How hard she worked, and the high regard she must have already been held in by these friends, was evident on Sunday 27th November with a public recital in The Plaza de la Consticucion in Teguise, more popularly known as the Plaza de los Leones. More than twenty much loved poets from The Canary Islands each read a poem and a couple of tourist-visitors to the island also stepped forward to volunteer a contribution of their own.  Everyone who contributed was asked to post a photo of his contribution or her contribution to their favourite social network, associating that with the festival hashtag.

The Lanzarote Poetry Festival 2022 had actually opened two days earlier, on Friday 27th November with an evening recital at The Timple Museum with the participation of the twenty featured poets from The Canary Islands and the archipelago.

The following day was given over to a street recital led by Luisa Molina from the literary group, Letras para el Alma and Delia Martin, a tour guide from Patrimonio,in a strolling recital through the historic streets of Teguise. The almost two hour pilgrimage included nine or ten short presentations about historical buildings, corners and streets, and at every juncture a different pair of poets each read a self-penned poem about the location.

Then came the glorious Sunday morning that closed what must surely prove to be the inaugural annual Lanzarote Poetry Festival.
Having been invited by Mercedes to make an English contribution from the square, I arrived fairly early, with Teguise still setting up for a day of thousands of visitors to the Sunday market in one town square and for hundreds of watchers and passers-by in a square only a hundred yards away. We saw the restaurant staff putting out their tables and chairs on the pavements, and we found the sound technicians putting up the system and check, check, checking one, two three, two two. two.

We helped Mercedes and her poet-friends hang samples of the poems to be read on stringed off perimeter of the performance area. There was a little stage, with a microphone set up, and a little registration desk for people to volunteer to deliver a poem. Mercedes was busy putting finishing touches to everything and making last minute conversation with the performers. So, after making sure my name was on the list as a contributor, my wife Dee and I headed over to The Chiringuito for a breakfast of  Tortilla Espanol and chicken croquets, with a cup of frothed up cappacino for me and café con leche for Dee. We had a lovely spot at a table in the sun, the service was great, the price was more than reasonable and the staff were friendly and hard-working.

Although I hadn’t performed in my role as a poet for several years now, other than when I gate-crashed a writing-group reading at El Patio in Teguise a few years ago, I returned to the performance arena feeling pretty confident and at ease. All I had to do was step on stage and, like riding a byke, I was unlikely to fall off. Just as that thought popped into my head I remembered an incident seven years ago when I rode a bike that the previous occupants of our new home here on Lanzarote had left in the shed,….straight into my garden wall and banged my head. My wife says she doesn’t think I’ve ever been right since.

We found a spot to sit and listened as the twenty guest poets each read a poem, themed to the festival title Versos, Volcanoes Y Vientos. Throughout the concert I was growing more and more doubtful of my rights to be in this company. I began to worry that the poem I had selected might not be as appropriate as I might have hoped. I listened to words I couldn’t understand as the Spanish poems were all beautifully read. Each reader produced gentle rhythm and careful cadence and delivered their work with the respect it deserved. There seemed nothing savage here, (how could there be there in paradise?) but there were, nevertheless, reference made to climate change and social needs.

Mercedes Minguela was the epitome of this approach of delivering with absolute sincerity,……and then I was introduced.

The poem I had chosen was one I had written in 1971 just after Mankind’s first moon-landing, and subsequently was recorded as a song in four very different versions. I mentioned the poem, Doing The Spacewalk, in last week’s post on these pages in an article about how NASA Astronauts will be coming to Lanzarote to train on our ´lunar landscape´ next year.

The poem is very simplistic in form but addresses some contentious issues in its lyric,…. the ´colonisation´ of space, the future of the only planet we have made our home, how space exploration might affect our notions of eternity and immortality and perhaps even our relationships with our Gods. The short poem also looks at how Mankind has, in some cultures, romanticised the moon as a symbol of love.
I moved to the stage, though, by shouting up to the skies the lines of Can You Hear Me Major Tom from Bowie’s Space Oddity. I did this purely as an attention-grabber, as I knew the audience might not understand the language of my English poem, but that if they understood and recognised that chorus they might then put together what the poem was about.

I read at many, many poetry festivals in the UK,…standing soaked wet through in a thunderstorm close a radio mic-stand that was struck by lightning in a deserted town hall square in Bolton comes to mind,….but coming on to a crowd of a hundred or so, all wondering what the heck, on a tiny stage shadowed by a huge church tower etched into a clear blue sky in a temperature of almost thirty degrees is something I will remember forever.

The first thing that struck me, (if we don’t count that lightning a few years ago) was the politeness, the courtesy and the attentiveness of the people around the square. It was typical of Canarian good manners, with audience members properly listening, and my fellow poets also paying me the courtesy of listening to the words. That is a long way from the sound of pints being served and slurped,  tills clanging, and the barmaid shouting ´time gentlemen, please´ just before I was due to read, all of which was part of soundtrack to many readings in  England.
So, after reading Doing The Spacewalk, I stepped down to polite applause and a couple of handshakes, and listened to one young female tourist who stepped out of the crowd to follow me, and delivered her work in Spanish.

So it transpired I was the only English-Language poet to appear among twenty well respected Spanish Language poets at the Lanzarote Poetry Festival 2022 and even at the age of seventy, I was thinking that would look pretty good on my cv.

So there were more than twenty poets, al fresco, reading original poetry in the Plaza de Leonnes in Teguise last year. They had arrived by boat and plane from all of the other seven Canary Islands. Next Friday 1st September A hundred an d fifty newly written poems, inc luding those from plast year have been compiled into what looks like a well-presented and prestigious volume of work much of which will be the body of the readins by their writers.

Amazingly, tickets for the event are ´free until full´, but as ever tickets for these sort of deliveries are difficult to locate, so the best idea is to arrive at the venue as early as possible to find out what the admission procedure is going to be.

If I can’t get in, I’m prepared to stand in the corner serving ice creams so that I will be able to deliver a report for you.

Watch this space !

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